A LinkUp Group is a course which normally takes place in a residential setting – either one of our UK charity sites or a hotel.
It is led by two people with personal experience of hearing loss in their own lives. One will have a personal hearing loss themselves and so will have practical experience of managing the daily challenges that brings.
The other will have a personal understanding of the frustrations hearing loss brings to the family or to other close relationships. Both will be experienced group facilitators, and their role is to help the members of the group agree on the topics they wish to discuss.
In addition to this, there will be two or three volunteers who all have personal experience of hearing loss in one way or another. Their role is to make sure the practical arrangements run smoothly, and to share their own personal experiences and the solutions they have found for the problems they have encountered.
How long does a LinkUp Group last?
Most LinkUp Groups are run over a weekend to make sure those with employment commitments can access them. Participants normally arrive on a Friday evening to begin to get to know each other. Formal sessions begin on Saturday morning and run throughout the day, concluding with a shared meal in the evening. Work continues Sunday morning and will finish just after lunchtime to allow for return travel.
How does communication work?
During group sessions, we provide an excellent working hearing loop and speech to text support (whereby everything that is said is typed in real-time and displayed on a screen) so that everyone can follow everything that has been said.
During the break times, we use the opportunity to practise some of the communication strategies that will have been discussed during the sessions. The most important thing to remember is that everyone is in the same boat, so everyone understands and looks out for each other.
Many participants arrive feeling deeply anxious that they will be left out of the conversation, just like the situation in their everyday life. It doesn’t take long before they realise that this is one place where good communication is practised, and all are included.
How much does it cost?
Currently, we make no charge for participating in a LinkUp Group and we cover the costs of accommodation, meals and refreshments from arrival to departure thanks to the generosity of voluntary donations and funding from grant providers.
We do not cover the cost of transport to and from the LinkUp Group, but if this would prevent someone from attending who really needs this help we will always consider options.
Where and when are LinkUp Groups held?
In 2022 we are aiming to deliver LinkUp Groups in various parts of the UK, but only if safe to do so and in line with government guidance. Sometimes the location is determined by funding we may receive; sometimes it is determined by demand, so do let us know if you are interested in attending.
How do I apply for a LinkUp Group?
To add your name to the waiting list please complete this short form and we will get in touch with you soon. If you would like to know more before starting the application process, you can contact us via our Helpdesk or email firstname.lastname@example.org